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Back to School Special – Podcast

Health and Wellness

In this special Back to School episode we’re hitting the road to visit a pair of local providers who can help us prepare our kids, and ourselves, for success this school year.


  • CJ Anderson        
  • Annette Byrd, FNP, Adventist Health Medical Group
  • Jennie Vernier, LCSW, In-House Counseling Associates


Annette Byrd - Adventist Health SandyAnnette Byrd – Sandy Family Practice and Urgent Care

What do providers provide in back to school physicals

  • Vision exams
  • Hearing test
  • Checks for heart murmurs
  • Age appropriate screenings and vaccinations
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Conversations about hygiene, hand washing (reinforcing messages parents may be providing)

Tips for school success

Sometimes younger children may have trouble making it to the bathroom. Have an extra set of clothes for young kids in case they have an accident at school

Know your school’s policies on medications your child may need. Get a second supply from your provider if needed. Make sure your child knows who can give them medications they may need and when to ask.

Jennie Sullivan Vernier - InHouse CounselingJennie Vernier – In House Counseling

Going back to school can be an emotional time

Going to school for the first time, or transitioning to middle school, high school or college represents a transition for our children. Any periods of transition can be anxiety provoking. Children don’t know what to expect in a new situation. This can manifest itself as nervousness or self-doubt.

Going to school can be a loaded experience for the parent too. When kids go to school it’s a symbol of milestones in their development. Also, as children engage in school they begin to develop friendships and peers who become larger influencers in their lives. Up until this point parents are the center of a child’s life.

It’s ok to be genuine and honest with your children about your experience and emotions. “Mommy has happy tears.” It’s a way to help acknowledge with your child that they are growing up.

Signs something may not be going well

Often children will not communicate their struggles verbally. Watch for changes in behavior. For young children this may mean they start acting much younger than their actual age, or reverting back to baby talk. This is their way of getting back to a time in their life when things felt manageable.

For older children look for changes in day-to-day life. Not engaging with family, friends or hobbies can be a sign of struggles. Pay attention to their moods. Remember, you’re generally not comfortable talking about things that embarrass you or that you’re ashamed of, and those are the feelings your child is likely having about their struggles. Children are a little self-centered in their thinking, meaning that they can’t imaging anyone else has ever going through the same struggle they’re having.

Tips for Success

  • Help them know what to expect (routines, people, information)
  • Celebrate the first day of school with a special breakfast or new outfit
  • Get back on a school sleep schedule ahead of time. Set a regular bedtime and wake up time.


Author: LivingWell PDX Blog

Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.


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